Of Travel and Life Experiences: How I Survived 2013

2013 has been a hard year for me. And it truly felt like I was being challenged in more ways than one (physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially). The number of trips that I made this year may have been less compared to 2012. But I still thank God for blessing me with plenty of life-changing experiences.


My right foot's 5th metatarsal broke in March, which kept me from having to work and to travel (was already bound for Tacloban the next month when this happened). Plus, a nasty skin ailment progressed all over my body during my immobility. I couldn't get myself checked at the time since I could barely walk with my foot cast. So things worsened through those months. And by the time I consulted a dermatologist, a new set of expenses came pouring like rain. 

By then, my spirit was already dampened as cancelled trips were made, and when potential projects had to be declined. I was depressed for several months because I felt sick, helpless and penniless. My savings were gradually depleting, which lead me into asking loans from family members (something that I'm not used to doing). And two months after my cast was removed, I contracted another illness. If you've heard of the notorious Chikungunya virus (with symptoms similar to Dengue Fever). Well, I had that too. 

It has been a trying time for me for the last three quarters. That's when I started questioning God as to why all these conditions were being brought upon me. But later on I remembered Job's hardships... 

I knew that I was going to get better after much reflection. And I felt God's loving spirit reassuring me that the worst is about to end. Soon enough, I was back on my feet again. I may not be a 100% healthy and fit. But I'm definitely back on track.

Taken 25 days after my foot cast was removed. [May 2013 at Infanta, Quezon]


Other than a renewed hope for my health and life in general, I still had a lot of blessings to thank for this year.

I got to see up close some of the most awesome-looking Hot Air Balloons in Clark, Pampanga. But other than that, I also got to meet a few Pinoy Travel Bloggers, who I've become close friends with thereafter.


I'm also thankful for new projects that were offered soon after recovering from my ailments --- which also helped fund for several staycations within the metro (Orion Hotel, Great Eastern Hotel, iSuites Hotel, A.Venue Suites). 


I'm also grateful for travel sponsors who've partnered with Budget Biyahera, and who've also believed in my vision. Thank you so much for all the love and support Chelsi LeathershopTravelBook.ph, Lagu, Towelite, GO Hotels. Thank you for letting me have this opportunity to promote the best Philippine products and services that our country has to offer. I hope to work with you all again real soon!


I'm also grateful for travels that have finally pushed through (Infanta, Quezon with my family;, Chinatown Food Trip with PTB's Jherson, Gelai, Nil, Mina, RJ, Romel;Eastern Visayas road-trip with Cuks, Ephraim, Felix, Benjie & Tam-Tam;, Baguio with my brother, and Malaysia with Rubel and KL-based travel /fashion blogger friends Krissy, Joey, Riz & MJ). 

I'm truly blessed to have finally traveled again, especially with the presence of old and new friends. Truly, nothing compares to being in the company of like minded individuals. I'm just so grateful that traveling has brought this kind of joy in my life.



I will always be thankful for the writing opportunities that have been given to me this year, especially those that have been printed on Travel Magazines (Turista and Cebu Pacific). Those to me, will be a great lasting legacy.


I will also be forever humbled to know several remarkable travel bloggers, who I've come to call as friends. Truly, nothing beats meeting with like minded individuals who will always inspire you with their stories and experiences on the road.

Here's to more chikahan moments on and off the road guys! :) Special mention to PTB friends Paula O, Jherson, Gelai & Nil, Claire & Rem, Romel, Ephraim, Dennis, Kenneth, Doc Gelo, Jun Baris, Mina, Javee, Ms. Bing and Franc. :)

[Photo Credit to Claire of iamtravelinglight.com]
[Photo Credit to Karen Tuazon of MomOnlineMag.info]


I may have been spared from experiencing the wrath of the massive tempest. But I will forever be pained by the agony, loss and despair that my friends have gone through. 

But despite the storm and its effect in Eastern Visayas, a lot of love was still shared throughout the tragedy. That's why I'm deeply grateful to everyone who's helped us raise funds for immediate family and friends who got hit by the Supertyphoon. My gratitude also goes out to everyone around the world who've unconditionally reached out to our fellow countrymen. No words will ever be enough to express our indebtedness to you guys. You are all heroes to us! Mabuhay kayo!


I would also like to acknowledge (friends and family) the support that we've received for our OPLAN PALIGO cause. All the complimentary hotel bath essentials that we've collected has definitely reached our Sintang Kabataan families. 

To family and friends, you've certainly brought a special meaning to 'traveling with a cause'. Thank you again for sharing your love to our Sintang Kabataan. :) 

No matter how many obstacles were experienced this year, I feel that an awesome 2014 will be waiting for me. So here's to a rockin' 2014 Biyaheras & Biyaheros! :) Thank you for all the support, the love, and for the loyal readership. I can't thank you all enough for being a big part of my 2013. Until our next journey together. :)

Explore & Be Free!

Mai Flores 

This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for December 2013, with the theme: “Closing the Curtains on 2013: Love, Learn and Living.” Hosted by Brenna Bustamante of The Philippine Travelogue.

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  1. we all have our ups & downs this 2013 (my lowest, saddest moments actually!) but what matters most is to count our blessings!

    uy, nagpunta ka pala sa penang, i assume with claire? sayang i didn't get to meet you there.
    nonetheless, still glad i was a part of that pre-xmas party dinner; ang saya!

    cheers to more safe travels & a lot lessons to learn!
    happy new year! God bless.

  2. Indeed, Doc Gelo! Madami man tayong napagdaanang mahirap this year. But our blessings should count even more, kasi we'll always come out stronger and wiser. :)

    As for Penang, I was just there nung November, and i didn't get to travel with Claire. :) I did got to meet Riz, Krissy, Joey and MJ. :)

    And yes, here's to more travels and life-changing experiences! Happy New Year, Doc! :)

  3. Hi, Mai!

    Even with the challenges, I think you still had a great year. Keep the positive attitude and keep traveling. I think that's the best way we travel addicts heal.

    Wishing you a really good year ahead. Sana ma-meet na kita this coming year :)

  4. Great year on the overall for you idol Mai. More travels and adventure for you in 2014.

  5. Beautiful gratitude list! =) Your resilience after your physical challenge is admirable. May your next year be better! Happy to meet you and hope to talk with you more next time. ;-)

  6. Sana sa 2014 kasama ako sa year-end post. LOL!

    I love you friend. Your one of the true treasures I have found this year.

    Happy new year! God bless you!

  7. Mai I didn't know it was a serious accident! I was checking your post / status on FB about postponing some trips and the airlines not being very accommodating and stuff but I didn't know the extent of the pain you were going through! I'm sorry to hear that. But the good thing is the "tribulations" is but just a small moment and like Job (which you quoted), may the new year and years ahead be better than your beginning!!

  8. Though your 2013 may have full of challenges, but you're able to overcome it by God's grace. Thank you for the opportunity of meeting you on the road and Hoping you (and beau) the best in 2014. Happy New Year!

  9. natawa nmn ako dun sa picture ntn! solo akong ng-peace sign haha. Cheers to more travels and more blessings! Miss you Mai! happy 2014 to you & your family! God bless and keep safe!! muah! =)

  10. Getting sick for that long is truly a challenge, I am glad that you were able to find your strength get back right on track. Despite that, I still think this was a great year for you! I hope to meet your soon. BTW to answer your question on my blog if I am a fashion designer, it’s a sideline lang po, still aspiring to become a fully grown one hehe... Cheers po for 2014!!

  11. Same to you, Franc! Literal, sana dumoble pa ang runs and travels mo for 2014! :)

  12. Thank you, Claire! :) And same here. Sana longer chikahan na next time around. :) See you soon?

  13. Anober! For sure kasama ka ulit sa 2014 year-end post..hehe! And luvya too!!! You are indeed one of my blessings in 2013... :) Here's to more bondings, kulitan at chikahan.. cge, tsismisan na din! Hahahaha

  14. Hi Ate Mhe-Anne! Thank you po sa napakaGandang comment. And yes, babangon at babangon talaga ako! :) Thank you ulit.. I really felt your deep concern & sincerity. Sana maMeet na po kita soon. :)

  15. Thank you lovebirds! I pray nothing but the best for you both.. you guys truly exude all the passion in the world! More travels your way.. and sana magkita-kita tayo soon.. kung san mang lupalop pa ng mundo.. hehehe! Hope you guys had a wonderful NYE! :)

  16. Ok lang yan, para unique! Hehehe! Here's to more blessings your way! Hayaan mo na ang aking nobelang comment. Madrama talaga ako! Hahaha! Hope you & your whole family had a lovely NYE! View the Petronas Twin Towers for me nlng from time to time ah (kahit impossibleng paminsan minsan on your end hahahah)... miss ya teh! :)

  17. Awwww, kalowka ang haba ng eksena sa paa m teh. Chikungunya ung bf q teh nagka ganyan ang haba!!! at prang bells palsy ung side effect tagal bago bumalik kalowka tlga yang sakit na yan, rare lng daw yan umeeksena. Glad ok na ka na dn teh. Sooo happy nagkita na rin tau sa wakas. hahaha. balik ka tehhh... more eksena!!! i'll let u know pag umuwi aco pinas meet up ulet. haha

    Happy new year teh!! Hope to see u again!

    More travels pa in 2014!! sana makasama kita sa travel ng bongga!

  18. Teh!!! OA talaga mga sakit na nakuha ko last year, as in nakakaloka! Pero that's in the past. Wag lang sana ako mabalian at madapuan ng Chikungunya ulit! :P And parang mas malupet naranasan ni bf mo ah.. buti nmn he got through it! :)

    And I misyu na! :) Thank you sa pagbisita dito ulit.. kahit man lang online, makapagChikahan pa din tayo.. pagbalik mo, kailangan mo akong kitain ulit! Hahaha! Mandatory na yan! :) Keep safe always, and more travels your way (hindi ito impossible sayo, kaw pa!) Mwah Mwah!

  19. Hi Christeen! :) Thank you for dropping-by, and for the well-wishes. :) I also would like the chance to meet you in person too. :)

    And no more PO's please! Hahaha! I actually graduated from a fashion degree course (Clothing Technology in UPD to be exact). Pero I changed careers. :P Kaya for your, continue to pursue your passion for designing more lovely bridal dresses. Malay mo, maging future client mo pako (nagaabang pa kasi ako ng proposal, LoL).

    Cheer for an awesome 2014, Christeen! :)

  20. Hi Marj!!!! One of my fave travel bloggers of all time.. heheh! Thank you for the well-wishes. I really appreciate it. I wish nothing but the best for you as well. Of course, here's to a more prosperous new year.. :) I'm also hoping to meet you on the road (or anywhere actually hehe) real soon. :) Mwah!

  21. Wow...what a year! And you made it through eveything. Life's such a blessing, we must make the most of it. I'm very glad to have virtually met you. Happy New Year Mai! xx

  22. Yay! Though you've been through some challenges this year Mai, I love it when you said that there are things to be grateful of. And the great things that happened to you will surely kick away those downsides. And mukang ang saya-saya pa rin ng 2013 mo in spite of the circumstances you have to go through! That's the spirit of joy - it lives on! Happy New Year! More joyous journeys this year!

  23. "Life's such a blessing, we must make the most of it." - I couldn't agree more, Ms. Madge! :)

    And yes, I'm also happy that we've met each other online. Hopefully, we get to hang out in person sometime in the future (may it be here in Manila, or in Europe --- hopefully hehehe). :) Have a wonderful 2014! Thank you for always visiting my blog. I really appreciate it! :)

  24. Hello Bai! Salamat! Talagang naging maganda pa din ang pagtatapos ng 2013 ko. Thank you din dahil naAppreciate mo ang munting regalo ko nung Christmas. Hehe! Here's to wishing you more travels (ikaw pa!) and more achievements this 2014! Uy, wag mo akong kakalimutan pag super sikat kana ah.. dapat makapagHangout pa din tayo. :)

  25. Gosh! never knew you've been through a rough times anak. But God has reasons why He let these illnesses happened. Good thing, you are now back in action. Don't you worry, God has so much thing stored for you (travel wise) this 2014.

  26. Thank you Tay! :) Di naman halata na ang dami kong pinagdaanan noh? Hehe! And yes, I believe that too! I have high hopes that God will bless me with more awesome gifts this year. :) Happy 2014 po! :)

  27. Congratz on a year well-spent Mai!

    Ayun, nagkakilala rin tayo ng personal batchmate... Cheers to more travels, bonding at kuwentuhan... :)

    At salamat ulit sa special gift, gagamitin ko talaga yun hanggang mapudpod... ok lang ba? Hehehe...

    Romel/San Josenyong Gala/Librero Tres

  28. Yes, batchmate! Here's to more travels din sa ating lahat this year! And you're welcome sa regalo. :) Gora lang sa pag gamit til mapudpud. Hehehe!

  29. The good news is, despite all the not so good things that happen to us (blessings in disguise!), God loves us, God is faithful! Glad you are well and ready to make new memories!

    Happy New Year, Ate Mai! :)

  30. nice reflection on your 2013 travels and life... and great for quoting Job's book too.

    have a great travel and life ahead!

  31. Wow! It was a good year for you :) Sana more travels and adventures (plus partners) sa 2014. Go and explore the beauty of different places all over the world!

  32. I think that optimism is really the key to fight the bad juju. Just be open to everything that comes your way because experience is the best teacher anyway

  33. i want to see hot air balloon here in malaysia hehe must plan to go there somewhere this mid-year i think. miss you Mai! Cheers to more travels and blessings!

  34. My goal in 2014 is to be like my idol Mai. Will be doing more travel blogs.

  35. God bless you sister Mai. God never abandons his soldiers in a great war (you know what I mean here). Just continue your quest and He will guide you in every direction. Keep up that spirit!

  36. The year had truly been a great one for you - except the foot injury, of course :) wishing you more blessings this new year! :)

  37. Revisiting...Indeed a great year for you anak. Wish ko lang na this 2014 I can hear those wedding bells.

  38. Wow! You have achieved that much. I adore you! I hope that you will be more blessed this year, also your blog :)

  39. Thank you, Demi. :) God is very gracious, indeed. Happy 2014 to you too!

  40. Hi Algene! It was a great half-year (the latter part that is). =) Happy 2014 to you too! :) And yes, more travels to US!

  41. May hot air balloon fest na din sa Malaysia? :) And I miss you too teh!! Kung isang jeep lang ang KL, malamang andyan ako sa inyo parati! Hehehe! Happy 2014!!!!

  42. Amen! Thank you sis! Happy 2014 to us! :) It'll be a great year ahead.

  43. Thank you! The same to you.. Have a blessed and safe delivery soon, Joy! :)

  44. Thank you Gen-zel! Same to you as well. Happy 2014! :)


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